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 Post subject: Dreamer and family- Kgalagadi Sept 2007
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:29 pm 
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17th September
With the usual great excitement, we left home mid morning and headed for Calvinia.
With time being on our side we decided to take the gravel R364 between Clanwilliam and Clavinia. A great choice as it was a beautiful scenic drive and can be recommended.
We always chose to spend the night in Calvinia and then leave from there at 7am the following am. From there it’s about 4 hrs drive to Upington and then a further 2 ½ to 3 to T/R. As you all have read elsewhere on the forum, the last 40km from Askham to T/R is still gravel with plenty road construction works taking place. Some of these stretches were good and some bad. Where the corrugations get a bit hectic one can just cross over and travel along the donkey track along the Botswana Border fence. This was smooth and easy going. For some reason there was no road works on the go, so for us, this stretch was not an issue at all.
We arrived at T/R, a lovely warm 36 degrees.
For those who need to know, we took our own wood into the park, told them at the entrance and no hassels with this at all.
Reception was chock a block with hoards of folk waiting at passport control to go across into Botswana. This did not effect us at all and we received a warm, cheery welcome from the most efficient staff at reception.
Was great to meet Andre, the KTP Guru, had a quick chat, did not waste too much time as we were all SO HAPPY to be back in KTP and needed to head off to our first camp, KTC.
With all the mention of Eland around Samevloeiing Waterhole, we decided to have a look there first before heading along the Auob.
Just as we had heard, there were eland carcasses everywhere.
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In all our previous visits (6 since 1999) we had only ever seen one or two Eland on the bottom Dunes road. These young Eland were enjoying a drink while standing in the waterhole.
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The park was the driest we have ever, ever seen. KTP is never the same from one visit to the next, no matter what time of the year it is.
Just beyond Hoemoed we saw this beautiful male lion. Not even in the park for 2hrs and a lion sighting. How lucky and what a way to start!
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Next was Giraffe, close to Dalkeith and a gorgeous Giant Eagle Owl.
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We arrived at KTC and it wasn’t long before we all sat alongside a fire, listening to the night sounds and feeling ecstatically happy, we were relaxing in our ‘other’ home.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 1:36 pm 
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Thank you all for your comments. I do wish I could write lovely reports and relay stories like a lot of you can, some can and some can't, I can't, however, I will do my best :D

Sept 20th

We had a good nights rest, lovely calm , not hot, not cold and no wind. We listened to hyaena calling and laughing, heard lions roaring in the distance.
We were up early and ready to leave for a morning drive at 6.30 am.
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These two jackal were not interested in any early morning rising.
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Close to Craig Lockhart we saw 3 lion sleeping in the shade, also not interested in us.
We moved along slowly towards 13th Waterhole. As we entered the loop these bat eared fox scurried along so quickly, but did manage a rear view pic!
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Then, a pride of 10 lion . 2 male, 2 female, 3 adolescents and 3 smaller cubs. The one male was lying a distance away from the others. The other was still enjoying feasting on a Gemsbok kill. We were so happy to be able to spend at least an hour watching the antics of this pride. The little cubs were never still, the one in particular. On several occasions ‘she’ would strut off, cross the road and sit on the slope calling. After a while, she would return to the rest of the pride and terrorise them. What an amazing sighting.
I did not manage good pics as they were lying and playing in the shade making it quite difficult for photography (for me at least). I took a couple and then just enjoyed the time observing.
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I was so tempted to want to ask SO to move the vehicle every now and then so I could get a better shot! I realized while at this sighting that I could not be ‘selfish’ as far as photography was concerned. I had 3 others in the car to consider so I had to control myself and just enjoy the moments as they were happening.
We returned to KTC around 12pm to enjoy a leisurely lunch and also an afternoon rest. A wet towel draped over you when the temperature gets a bit much works marvelously. This afternoon it got up to a very hot 41 degrees!
We saw this same pride again during our afternoon drive as well as a lone Cheetah at the exit of Dalkeith. He had a collared tracking device and was showing signs of restlessness.
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However, we could not spend too much time here as we needed to head back to camp to enjoy another the evening and prepare for a delicious braai. We go really well prepared as far as the catering is concerned. For us, nothing can could be better than enjoying delicious food and excellent wine in a place we love the most!!

A couple of other pics from the day

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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:11 pm 
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Great report Dreamer..and WHAT A SUNRISE!! absolutely brilliant...
What is the reason for all the Eland carcasses as they are the extreme survivors there and like the Gemsbok can go a long time without water so a big drought should not be a problem but I know boundary fences have been fatal when they have not been able to migrate through as they are supreme wanderers

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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:15 pm 
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Thank you everyone for you lovely kind comments :D
I must also apologise :oops: to those who have struggled with viewing the pics. Seems that I am not downsizing correctly. I will look into it before I post any further pics as it must be most inconvenient for some dial up users.. :redface:

@ Peter Betts, I understood , that with the drought and lack of nutrition (there is not a tsamma melon in sight due to rains having come at the wrong time) these Eland have come across from Botswana and are so malnourished that the water is too 'rich' for them and they have become ill from this and died.
I will alert the KTP Guru to your question and ask him to provide a better explanation.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:18 pm 
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@ Craig and Caroline
It was lovely to meet up with you , great thing these yellow ribbons are! Likewise, we felt it would have been rather good if we could have been in the same camp to exchange stories... never mind, perhaps another time! (Today we booked for April next year!! :dance:)

21st September
This am we were to leave KTC for one night at Mata Mata. The rest of the family decided that I was too active for them and they chose to laze around while I went out for an early am drive. Came back to collect them a little later.
We were just too late arriving at Craig Lockhart, however I did manage a quick ‘not so good’ pic of these Kudu disappearing over the dune, obviously they had just been down for a drink at the waterhole. Pity about the poor photo, the light was totally wrong but I wanted a pic. Have a close look at the Male Kudu right in the top corner, he has such beautiful big horns.
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Did you guys notice what I did not when taking the photo… a gemsbok in the bottom corner with no horns?

The male lion seen the day before was still around Dalkeith.
Between Dalkeith and 14th Waterhole we spotted our Cheetah that we had seen the evening before on the Dalkeith loop. Must have been the same one, unless there was another collared one in the same area. It was hot sitting watching and waiting for some action, but we were determined to witness some action. We observed him for more than an hour when we decided to move along a bit and look out for him on our return. On our return , probably a half hour later, we noticed a lone springbok in the middle of the riverbed. Unfortunately the story does not go a lot further from here. He eyed the springbok, raised himself in the position that we thought was the start of a chase, but no go! From behind the fallen camelthorn tree, he watched the springbok pass without any further attempt to chase. In a way I was quite relieved, I could breath again!! He then moved up the centre of the riverbed and lay down in some shade. That was the end of his show. Decisions, decisions.. do we leave or move on?
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We chose the latter and a little closer to Dalkeith we saw these 2 Tawneys at a kill. This must have just taken place as they were still plucking away at the feathers of the Kori Bustard. We spend quite some time watching. Its amazing how quickly they de- feathered this poor bustard.
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Lunch was beckoning, we could tell from the sudden change in moods in the back of the vehicle!!
We stayed in the larger Parkhome at Mata Mata, which was sure showing signs of being old, but more than comfortable. In fact, I loved it. Just like being in a large spacious caravan with everything one needed.
It was here at Mata Mata that we first experienced badly behaved drivers, but I am not going to go into that here. It has been discussed elsewhere where it belongs and I choose rather choose to enjoy writing this report than trying to come up with solutions to problems!! And.. it spoils my enjoyment reliving our special time in KTP.
Spotted this owl on the ground just before Mata Mata camp.
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Another evening of beautiful skies (the first two for me are typical of the saying "Every cloud has a silver lining..") followed by a very warm night and after another delicious dinner we decided on an early night.
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Packing up for Urikaruus the next morning took longer than normal. Think the early mornings were beginning to catch up on a few members of the family.
This pic is of a display alongside the filling station at Mata Mata.
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While enjoying the regular coffee and rusks at 14 de Boorgat we were treated to a wonderful sighting of 15 giraffe in total.
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At 13th waterhole we saw one of the male lions from the previous day. Check the size of his belly!!
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Midday, another hot 41 degress, we arrived at Urikaruus and occupied No’s 1 and 2 as requested. Unpacked, cooled off in what has to be one of the best showers I’ve experienced and remained in camp for the rest of the day. Sitting on the deck watching the antics of the hornbills, the mongoose, the comings and goings of the Springbok, Gemsbok Wildebeest, Ostrich and Jackal.
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 Post subject: 22/23 Sept
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:09 pm 
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What a perfect evening we had! We sat on the deck , saw the sun go down and enjoyed a few sundowners :D What could be more enjoyable than being at Urikaruus enjoying Veuve Cliquot and lamb shanks? I suppose the answer to that could be to be able to repeat that a couple of times. We did but, sadly once the champs was finished , that was it for this visit, at least while at Urikaruus. Megan was unable to finish her meal and covered it up safely in the kitchen to be enjoyed the next day, well, that’s what she was hoping for.
That night we saw Steenbok, Giraffe, Hyaena and Eland come down to drink. It was nearly full moon so that made viewing a lot easier without having to use the spotlight.
The hyaena had a lovely time chasing each other underneath our cabin and making a dash for the waterhole. Once finished drinking they slowly walked back towards us, stopped and glared up at us on our bedroom balcony before moving off. I must admit their glare uneased me and I was very pleased that we were high up on bedroom balcony and not the lower kitchen deck! SO just smiled at my nervous reaction :twisted:
Gareth and I were up early and ready for our am drive, while SO and Megan decided to stay and enjoy the camp. While making a quick cuppa, I noticed that Megans left over lamb shank was nothing more than a spotlessly clean bone!! Could it have been the spotted genet that everyone talks about at Urikaruus?
I had forgotten the spare camera battery in the cabin so by the time we eventually left it was 6.45. Little did we know that at 6.50 we would have witnessed something very beautiful.
This is what we missed. Megan used her camera but realised she only had space for a couple more on the card and not wanting to delet any other pics she quickly thought of reducing the quality to at least be able to show us what we missed :mrgreen:

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SO took me down to the where I have driven out earlier to show me how I had driven over the spoor :shock: We had reversed in the previous evening so access to the drivers side of car was quick and safe :redface:

Little did we know that much later we would be returning full of excitement with wonderful stories of our own to tell them....


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:03 pm 
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Great report...I really am enjoying it and your pics...What lens were you using for the Cheetah shots at Urikarus..Iam just doing some planning for future trips

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:26 pm 
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Thank you.. Anne-Marie, Craig, Elsa, Wander, Restio and Peter :D I will pass on your comments re the wonderful cheetah sighting to my daugher. She is just a happy snapper, much more happy than snappy thank goodness :lol: :lol:
@Peter,
She was desperate to share their sighting with us and picked up the spare Fuji S5000 to discover that there was only 2 pics left if she took them on the highest resolution, so she smartly switched to 1 M only and probably full digital zoom :shock: Peter, my guess would be that the waterhole is plus minus 40m away from the deck. With your amazing camera equipment you would have cracked an award winning pic I'm sure :D


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:41 pm 
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After arriving back in the camp and looking at the pics and video of SO and Megans Cheetah we finally owned up and told them that we also were spoilt :D I say finally because to come back and gloat over something they missed I thought would be sad for them. It did make it a lot easier when we discovered that they too were happy with their decision to stay behind.

13de Boorgat is as far as we got and the pics I'm sure will be self explanatory!! I must add that I messed up, BIG time.. :redface: :redface: I learnt a lesson though.. Don't get so excited that you forget that settings need to be adjusted on the camera, I suppose it's nothing but plain s t u p i d !!!

As we turned into the 13th loop we came across a cub in the centre of the riverbed, before we could blink, we were seeing a total of 8 in the pride. We did not know where to look first :shock: We then realized that the one lioness was definately stalking 'something'. After carefully scanning the area, we noticed that it was a Gemsbok a little higher up on the incline towards the upper road.
We were alone at this sighting for 40 minutes before another car arrived. We watched the unsuccessful chase, followed them up to the top road and then back to the loop to be entertained for at least another hour. Watching the interaction between these lionesses and cubs was the most amazing experience. You know the feeling when you go to a show and wish you could see it again because you felt you missed so much... well that's what happened here. Gareth saw different interactions to me and vise versa. I wanted to say.. STOP, please play a little more slowly and together so that I can witness it all I finally managed to relax, sat back and just enjoyed every single moment. I felt so sad that SO and Megan were not with us, but as we discovered later, they too had their good share :D

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Image We could not work out what this little trouble maker had in his mouth. A car part maybe??

Think that is enough for today, sorry for so many but I just can't help sharing these. Perhaps it's only me just enjoying reliving this. It was our first of seeing cubs and lion that were not just sleeping!!


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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 10:56 pm 
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p@m, I should have used the binos to get a closer look, but my camera was 'glued' to my hands :lol:

A couple more of the lions then I promise to move on....
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After sharing these with SO and Gareth we prepared a lovely bacon and eggs breakfast and enjoyed the rest of the day till 5 pm on the balcony. For me, initially this was difficult as I always feel that I need to be on the move. Someone in a previous report suggested to hide the keys away for a day when staying at Urikaruus. A very good idea, although I did compromise by going out for the early am drive, then I stayed ‘home’ for the rest of the day.
We witnessed a couple of the whirlwinds throughout or trip, but this one was the most majestic!! Fortunately it came to a halt before it reached our balcony :shock:
There was never a dull moment at Urikaruus and nor at any other camp (except briefly when I realised I was running out of Amarula :( )
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Went out for a short late afternoon drive, saw lots of general game and 2 male lion at 14de Boorgat before returning for yet another magic evening.
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A few of my favourite things :D
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Heard the hyaena calling and also saw one drinking at the waterhole a little later.
This night we went to bed, exhausted!! So much excitement in a day and so much more to look forward to in the days to come..


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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 12:09 pm 
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Hello to all who have been waiting for a continuation of my report. At last, managed to 'hide away' and get on with it :redface:
Thank you for all you lovely comments till now!

24/25 September
This am we were all going out for the early drive to 13th waterhole that had been exceptionally active over the past few mornings and we were hoping to be lucky again.
We were not disappointed. The 8 lion were there again but this time playing up on the dunes.
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We followed and watched for quite some time before moving on to 14th where we saw a lovely male lion. While watching him we suddenly realized that there was more to pay attention to. A lioness was walking away from the riverbed up the dune towards the upper road. Once again, we thought it a good idea to drive back to the exit of the loop and proceed along the upper road. In no hurry and with no other cars around we stopped, switched off and enjoyed the peacefulness of the morning. One car slowly passed and also stopped to scan the area. We both got lucky… again!! The female lion we saw on the dune from the loop appeared on the crest and proceeded slowly towards us. But… this time she was not alone. She had 3 tiny cubs with her. These were the smallest cubs we had ever seen and on chatting to Andre (KTP Guru) a little later in the day, we understood that they were probably only about 8 weeks old and more than likely on one of their first outings! I did not find it easy to photograph as there was always a bush in the way. I’m sure you will still enjoy the pics.
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The one cub was definately taking more strain than the other two and kept sitting down. Mum had to stop and wait often, and when the cub took too much time resting she was picked up and carried.
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I was so pleased we all witnessed this as I wouldn’t have had the heart to go back and tell the others what they missed.
After they disappeared over the dune we decided to drive the loop and head back to Urikaruus and enjoy a day in the camp.
At that stage, little did we know that there was more in store before we left 14th waterhole. We followed the male (that we were watching before we noticed the lioness going over the dune) for about 20 min before he finally lay down. Another awesome sighting.

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We returned to Urikaruus to drop our son off to do some studying!! :evil: We went on to TR, desperate for any some kind of bod moisturizer. We had run out. Megan had had enough of being made fun of!! We kept referring to her as our newly discovered bird – Scaley skinned blondie!! Got sorted out at TR and made up to Scaley skinned blondie by purchasing her an ice-cream :lol: :lol:

Can you help with this bird, goshawk, but which one?

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A lovely PCG
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Urikaruus waterhole was productive with the usual general game.
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The next morning was time to depart from Urikaruus, mixed feelings, sad to leave but excited to head off to Nossob.
Just outside the camp we saw this Wild Cat stalking a whisteling rat.
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The first rat we had seen this trip. Our previous visit last Sept we were dodging them there were so many!!
Saw ostriches, Hartebeest and Eland along the dunes road. At Morevet waterhole we came across the remains of a Eland Kill with plenty Lappet Face and White backed vultures. Once again, this was another waterhole that had plenty of Eland Carcasses everywhere.
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We had planned a stop at Dikbaardskolk but with 11 other cars, folk having a huge brunch together, we chose to more on slowly.
Saw four fat lion sleeping in the shade at Kaspersdraai. Close by this jackal was feasting on an yet another Eland kill.
We arrived at Nossob, settled in and enjoyed an afternoon in the camp.
The two cute white faced owls were found in the tree behind the shop.
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Took a short late afternoon drive around Maries se Draai and saw a female lion close to the road along with 2 males lying a short distance away from her. Little did we realize that this female had cubs hidden in the bushes alongside her. We did see them briefly the next day (I am sure many of you have read about these cubs that were seen here for quite few days) I am a bit confused as Craig and Caroline have posted pics of a mum with cubs from Maries Se Draai that looked only a couple of days old. They were at Nossob a couple of days after us. I have tried to zoom in on these pics I managed to get and am wondering if Craig’s cubs were not perhaps a different set? Find it hard to believe that those we saw would only have been a day or so old :?
Will post these pics a little later after I have piced out the best of a 'twiggy' few. More twigs than cubs :redface:
Just past Rooikop on the way back to Nossob we had a lovely sighting of a Brown Hyaena. He was on a mission so good pic not possible.
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Back in camp we lit a fire, sat outside enjoying the night skies and sounds and after another delicious braai dinner ambled down to the hide. Sadly, this was not to be an enjoyable evening as due to unruly children and adults we chose to leave and rather enjoy hearing the lions roar from our cottage. After special coffee with Amarula we retired, tired from the hot day and looking forward to what the next day had in store for us.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:49 am 
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Hi Wander
You make me feel better about my :? feeling!!
Here are a couple of pics, as I said, rather twiggy but do have a look and tell me what you think. I'm sure that those that Craig and Caroline have posted in their report are definately others. I think these look just a little younger tahn the 8 week old cubs in my previous posting?
Gee, can you believe all this activity around Maries se Draai? We have never in all our visits seen so many lion and also the youngest we had seen before had been around a year old. Counted that we saw 56 lion in the 10 days. This was not counting the same lion at the same location again if we saw them later in the day :shock:
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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:58 pm 
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wanderw wrote:
Glad I'm not the only one feeling a bit :? about Marie's se draai cubs. I also got the impression that the "bush" cubs were not a few days old! Although, I could have mistaken a branch for a paw :wink: (It sure was twiggy!)

I know that I was told that there was a lioness with very young cubs under a thick bush fairly close the the northern entrance into the Marie se draai loop. There were several vehicles parked there, patiently waiting, but as I had to get to Urikaruus, and being lower couldn't see through the higher bakkies and SUVs, I didn't wait. This was on the morning of 20 September 2007.

What date did you see them, Dreamer? And what date did Craig and Caroline see their cubs? If we can establish a timeline, it should be easy to determine if these were the same cubs and their relative age? My understanding from what I was told on the 20th was that the cubs were very young, the implication being a few days only — but as I didn't see them ....

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:01 pm 
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Hello Arks
Welcome back home!! Hope you had an wonderful trip and looking forward to your report. Sorry I missed you in the park and in CT but sure there will be more opportunities.. won't there??
Arks, we saw these cubs on the 27th Sept. Craig and Caroline posted pics of cubs that they saw on 1 Oct. I suppose it is difficult for you to tell from the still pic (and not too good pic) but could these cubs above possibly only have been a couple of days old?

If Craig's were the same cubs you passed, that would have made those in his pic(still with umbilical cord) at least 11 days old?? I suppose it doesn't matter, although interesting to know :D

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:06 pm 
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Thanks for the welcome back, Dreamer! I'm also sorry that I missed meeting you both in KTP and in Cape Town, but there will certainly be other opportunities — altho I've no idea when :(

Looking at your pix and Craig's, I don't think they can be the same set of cubs. Yours look considerably larger/older than his. The "bush" that I knew about was I think no more than 2km from the northern end of the Marie se draai loop, on the righthand side coming from the north, and the cubs there were supposed to be "very" young — although it did seem to me a bit strange that a lioness would be hiding very young cubs inside a bush that was literally right next to the road.

Does this match the description of the locale where you saw your cubs? Or of where Craig saw his?? I don't think they can possibly be the same group of cubs, so it would seem that there were two lionesses with cubs on the MsD loop at the same time???

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Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Anonymous at 21:12:24 Submitted by Shiba at 21:51:34 Submitted by sarafl at 23:25:52 Submitted by sarafl at 00:07:20